Enemies at the Gates: Wacker Talks “Amazing Spider-Man”

When the Dog Days of Summer begin, and the hot muggy, weather rolls in, most people try to take it easy, but if you’re name is Peter Parker, taking things easy is rarely an option. This August, things will be especially difficult for Peter when “New Ways to Die,” a six part story in Marvel Comics’ “Amazing Spider-Man,” begins. CBR News spoke with Editor Stephen Wacker about the story, which pits Spider-Man against a number of familiar, fiendish faces and one brand new bad guy.

“New Ways to Die” runs through “Amazing Spider-Man” #568-573 by the creative team of writer Dan Slott and artist John Romita Jr. “This is Dan’s story. The rest of the Braintrust certainly contributed, but this is all from Dan's troubled skull,” Wacker told CBR News. “When I found out John was open to coming back to 'Amazing,’ we knew we had to make it big and with Dan's 6-part story I think we found a pretty good place.

“Between Chris Bachalo, Phil Jimenez, Barry Kitson, Mike McKone and Now Johnny coming back, it's really an embarrassment of visual riches right now on Spidey with some of the best storytellers in the business,” Wacker continued. “I can't think of a better time to be a Spider-man editor!”

“New Ways to Die” also reunites Spider-Man with long time foes Norman Osborn, the current Venom AKA Mac Gargan, and the former Venom Eddie Brock. Besides being three of Spider-Man’s most dangerous foes, the trio had another thing in common -- they all knew Spider-Man’s secret identity long before he revealed it to the world in the pages of “Civil War.” Now in the wake of the “One More Day” story line, the villains find themselves strangely without the knowledge of Spider-Man’s secret identity, which is something that will be touched on in “New Ways to Die.” “It haunts many of Spidey’s past relationships,” Wacker said.

When Eddie Brock was Venom, his primary motivations were to kill Spider-Man and others whom he felt harmed innocents, but Mac Gargan, the current Venom seems to have little qualms about injuring innocents. This has lead many to wonder if Anti-Venom, the new villain who makes his debut in “New Ways to Die,” is indeed Eddie Brock. “Last we saw Eddie he was bedridden and had cancer. Someone who's sick wants to be better,” Wacker stated. “Eddie's story and Anti-Venom's story aren't necessarily connected, but there is an undercurrent of redemption going through the story.”

Norman Osborn’s return to the pages of “Amazing Spider-Man” doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll don his old Green Goblin costume. “Who says there's even a Green Goblin in the story?” Wacker remarked. “Menace is here, but he's got a whole different agenda.”

Fans of Marvel’s “Thunderbolts” series, where Norman Osborn and Venom are regular cast members, will definitely want to pick up “New Ways to Die.” “You’re going to get a brief taste of the Thunderbolts fighting Spider-Man in 'Avengers/Invaders’ #1 in May. Then when the team returns to New York City in 'New Ways to Die’ with Norman along for the ride it gets very personal,” Wacker explained. “This storyline brings several subplots to a boil and culminates in one of the most asked for battles in comics. It's a big year for Norman Osborn and it all starts here.”

Discuss this story here on CBR's Spider-Man forum.

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